Canine by Kaitlin Bergfield

Canine - Kaitlin Bergfield

Our protagonist is a werewolf on the run from his family, desperate to hide from a legacy they are determined he will follow. He has found the best way to hide is as a dog, pretending to be a domestic dog he is taken in by various kind “room-mates” until his situation becomes impossible to maintain and he has to move on

 

He’s been managing for years now – but his latest room-mate has discovered his secret. Werewolf law is very clear – showing yourself to a human is a death sentence

 

And the wolf has to decide whether to run, keep hiding – or confront those hunting him.

 

 

 

There are several interesting elements to this book. A werewolf trying to pass himself off as a household pet is something I’ve never seen before and it’s definitely original. I really like how much detail has gone into thinking this through – the lengths the Protagonist (who is nameless for most of the book) has to go to to hide his humanity are quite extensive. Being able to wash, wear clothes, have ID, stay in the country (he is English and living in the US), brush his teeth or even read a book all take so much effort and thinking. There are nice elements like the effort he has to go to to make it seem like he doesn’t know what people are saying around him – because dogs don’t understand and it’s hard to maintain that fiction. I also like little references like his love of chocolate – even though it makes him terribly sick. Or having to cower in front of other dogs because even little dogs will bite him if he doesn’t.

 

There’s a lot of thought that has gone into the real difficulty of a werewolf living like this. It’s involved and a difficult way to live which requires a lot of interesting thought and development.

 

The characters he ends up living with – Galen and Sean – are an interesting gay couple. They have lives, histories, conflicts, hobbies and conflicts. They have problems with work and family, they have to deal with homophobia but other personal and relationship conflicts as well. Except for some of the problems I’ll get to later, they have the potential to be very good characters.

 

He also covers nicely how dog ownership can really help people, how it can help people dealing with high stress lives, people who really benefitted from the comfort and support of a dog.


Unfortunately this also comes with him being happy he can see his “room-mates” naked.

 

There are other problems as well

 

 

Firstly I think the plot has more than a few shaky elements that stretch my belief. I have trouble grasping that Galen and Sean so quickly and easily accepted the Protagonist into their lives as a werewolf. I don’t follow why they were so happy to have him mooching on their lives. I certainly don’t see why Galen was suddenly so eager to play Henry Higgins to the protagonist’s very reluctant Eliza Doolittle. I don’t understand why they are so very invested in the protagonist. They also really casually accept the existence of werewolves pretty casually

 

It also underscores how little we actually learn about werewolves, what it means to be a werewolf or even their greater culture and organisation. Through their lack of curiosity, analysis and the Protagonist’s extreme secrecy stopped any kind of real world building there

 

There was also a lot of decisions that were made - including the protagonists decision to tell all and sundry about his werewolfness – which just didn’t make a lot of sense. Or the whole way Galen decided to get the protagonist a fake ID. I think these decisions were made to advance the plot without any real foundation for them – they had to happen so they happened.

 

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Source: http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/08/canine-by-kaitlin-bergfield.html